Heidi Williams

  • The Toulouse Network for Information Technology

Charles R. Schwab Professor of Economics

Department of Economics

Stanford University

579 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305

(650) 723-9303


Website: Stanford faculty profile

Issues: Patents, Innovation and Economic Growth and Intellectual Property

About Heidi Williams

Heidi Williams is the Charles R. Schwab Professor of Economics at Stanford University; Professor, by courtesy, of Law at Stanford Law School; and a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR). Her research agenda focuses on investigating the causes and consequences of technological change, with a particular focus on health care markets. She studies how intellectual property rules, such as patents, encourage or discourage innovation in health care, from the development of new cancer treatments to the study of specific genes.


Professor Williams is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) where she is co-director of the Health Care Program. She is a co-editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives and is on the Board of Editors for the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy. She has written many articles around her work with the Human Genome Project, and whether or not intellectual property rights influence the pace of biomedical research. These articles have appeared in such publications as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, the American Economic Review, and the Journal of Political Economy.


Professor Williams is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2015) for her work that looks at the effects of patent policies and technology on medical research and health care. She is also a recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (2015). In 2016, Professor Williams received the Kauffman/iHEA (International Health Economics Association) Arrow Award for Best Paper in Health Economics. In 2018, The Economist named Professor Williams among "the decade's eight best young economists." She is lauded for her pursuit of a "more rigorous understanding of technological progress in medicine and health care." Professor Williams has also been recognized for her undergraduate teaching, graduate teaching, and graduate advising.


Ph.D., Harvard University, 2010
M.Sc., University of Oxford, 2004
A.B., Dartmouth College, 2003

Related Academics

TAP blog posts
Recent posts by Heidi Williams